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'Iran Daily' accuses Abdo of victimizing Ganji for personal purposes

2/3/01 Tehran, Feb 3, IRNA -- `Iran Daily' in its opinion column on Saturday slammed the article of Ms. Geneive Abdo, the Tehran-based Guardian correspondent and a contributor to the Herald Tribune, for distorting the remarks of the jailed investigative journalist Akbar Ganji, in a recent clandestine question-and-answer session, in the London-based Guardian.

The English-language daily accused her of victimizing the already "bloodied but unbowed Akbar Ganji", to burnish her own reputation as the wannabe American journalist authority on the Iranian Reform Movement.

Elaborating on the issue, the daily noted that Ganji's statements in the lead paragraph of the Guardian dispatch, titled `Jailed Iranian dissident predicts bloody backlash', is totally against what he had actually said in Farsi.

Likewise a cross-reference of Ganji's statements, in the next paragraph too, prove the same.

In view of this, the paper believed that Abdo has put her words in his mouth.

However, although the fact that Ganji did elaborate on how the "conservatives would be proven politically bankrupt," the paper noted that "his explanations centered on popular turnout in the upcoming presidential elections and the overall intellectual growth of the Iranians."

It conceded that "Ganji does not call for inciting rebellion against the conservatives hold on power or gives any hint that his incarceration might spark such an occurrence."

However, the paper noted the statement in the fourth paragraph of the Guardian story, which read: "Slowly and step by step, the fascist interpretation of religion will lead to terrorist acts and other crimes which take place for the sole aim of shedding blood and demanding bloodshed in return," comes in direct quotation marks.

The above stated phrase, the paper said, "complies with the Farsi original."

But when Abdo continues the quote by asserting that "future events will act as a detonator for an explosion," the paper accused her of blatantly juxtaposing Ganji's words from a different part of the interview.

This gives the "distorted and sensational impression that Ganji is talking about bloodshed instead of political reform," examined the daily.

Although this makes a fascinating and incendiary reading as well s a highly marketable grist for her Iran book, the fact remains that here too, Abdo is falsifying Ganji's statements, hit out the paper.

Another point which begs analysis, "is the apparently symbiotic relationship the Guardian correspondent has entered into with elements in the conservative press and unfortunately, in the Judiciary," which the paper believes is "long bent on sullying Ganji's veracity."

This indicates a "potent line of attack against an essentially defenseless Akbar Ganji," it pointed out, especially when it bears the imprimatur of internationally renowned new organizations like Reuters, the Herald Tribune and the Guardian.

This is not the first time Abdo has misreported and it will not be the last, warned the paper, unless, it suggested, relevant officials deliberate on her right to continue working as a journalist in this country,"

However, it believed that expulsion in this case, would make her a "so-called media martyr", while the paper pointed out there is nothing heroic in what was published worldwide in her article of January 26.

Considering the above stated facts, the paper advised relevant authorities to curb Abdo's "sleazy tactics" and "egregious opportunism", and "fully explain and document them to journalist associations worldwide, in addition to, of course, her employers.

Another fact is that since Abdo is not a diplomat, and is not immune to prosecution, the daily advised that she can therefore be tried under Iranian law.

Given the fact that Geneive Abdo has a multi-pronged agenda she is in a hot pursuit of, the daily concluded by urging the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the Judiciary, a number of Majlis ommissions and Iranian journalist groups to carefully scrutinize all her tactics and take necessary action against her.


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